Thanks for the details on this cut Paff. Most of the summaries I saw suggested it started just like the theatrical cut. I'm really looking forward to seeing this. I think Willow's dance works much better later in the film. Howie's tortured reaction seems over-the-top and unmotivated in the theatrical version. After another full day of torment it's more believable.
Speaking of Britt's dance, here's a question I've never seen addressed or answered. I've heard the talk that Rod Stewart supposedly objected to Britt Eklund's nudity--which is why such an obvious body double was used for the full-body rear shots. But why would he (or she) be okay with showing her chest but not her butt? That seems to be the opposite of conventional thinking.
Back on point. I have mixed feelings about the earlier appearance of Lord Summerisle. In almost every other situation I'd say more Christopher Lee is an improvement. But his intro is a lot more dramatic in the theatrical cut. The longer build-up makes his sparring with Howie seem that much more dramatic. Their first meeting has to be the best scene of Lee's career.